Actress Olivia de Havilland, a two-time Oscar winner and the last surviving principal cast member of Gone With The Wind, has turned 100.
Often hailed as America’s original Hollywood sweetheart, she played Melanie Wilkes in the classic American civil war film opposite Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard.
She is a double Oscar winner, having won gongs for her roles in the 1946 romantic drama To Each His Own and 1949 drama The Heiress.
She took a legal case against Warner Bros. Studios over contract disputes, and paved the way for greater freedoms for Hollywood actors.
The centenarian was born on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in Japan to British parents. She starred alongside Hollywood heartthrob Errol Flynn and the pair were hailed as a perfect on-screen match.
A friend, Brian Emsley, of Welwyn Garden City, recalled: “In 1997 when I worked for the University of Hertfordshire, I invited Olivia to attend the unveiling of a statue commemorating her cousin Sir Geoffrey at the campus.
“Although Prince Philip was to unveil the statue, the crowds and the media turned out to see and to applaud a woman still beautiful in her eighties.”
Her younger sister Joan Fontaine followed in her acting footsteps, starring in a number of well-known films and winning an Oscar for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 thriller Suspicion. The sisters had a notoriously strained relationship and professional rivalry led to an irreconcilable rift between them. Joan took on their stepfather’s surname to eliminate any confusion between them. She died aged 96 in 2013.
BuzzHub‘s earliest memory of de Havilland’s stunning screen presence dates to the classic The Adventures of Robin Hood, where she played Maid Marian opposite the dashing Errol Flynn. The 1938 Oscar-winning release is one of Hollywood’s better efforts at adapting the Robin Hood myth, in no small part due to Flynn and de Havilland’s memorable chemistry.
There are too few Hollywood legends from the early half of the 20th century still living. De Havilland, it seems, will outlive us all.
Thank you, Olivia, for a century of incomparable talent and beauty – on and off screen.